In 1948, Bishop Futon J. Sheen gave a near-prophetic address where he gave his vision of the impending crisis in the Church.
God has defined Himself as “I am Who am” and the Devil as “I am who am not.” Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, and as “the Prince of this world” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil.
But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that He will be so much like Himself, that he would deceive even the elect-and certainly no devil we have ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?
He will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves He will write books on the new idea of God to suit the way people live; induce faith in astrology so as to make not the will but the stars responsible for sins; he will explain Guilt away psychologically as inhibited eroticism, make men shrink in shame if their fellowmen say they are not broadminded and liberal; he will be so broadminded as to identify tolerance with indifference to right and wrong, truth and error; he will spread the lie that men will never be better until they make society better and thus have selfishness to provide fuel for the next revolution; he will foster science but only to have armament makers use one marvel of science to destroy another.
He will foster more divorces under the disguise that another partner is “vital”; he will increase love for love and decrease love for person; he will invoke religion to destroy religion; he will even speak of Christ and say that he was the greatest man who ever lived; his mission he will say will be to liberate men from the servitudes of superstition and Fascism: which he will never define; he will organize children’s games, tell people who they should and should not marry and unmarry, who should bear children and who should not; he will benevolently draw chocolate bars from his pockets for the little ones and bottles of milk for the Hottentots.
He will tempt Christians with the same three temptations which he tempted Christ: The temptation to turn stones into bread as an earthly Messias will become the temptation to sell freedom for security, as bread became a political weapon, and only those who think his way may eat.
He wants no proclamation of immutable principles from the lofty heights of a Church, but mass organization through propaganda where only a common man directs the idiosyncracies of common men. Opinions not truths, commentators not teachers, Gallup polls not principles, nature not grace-and to these golden calves will men toss themselves from their Christ.
The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the Kingdoms of the world would be his, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a city of man without a city of God, a religion to invoke a religion, or a politics which is a religion-one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s.
In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one; he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect.
Source: Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West, 1948